I’m not sure where to even go with this. My son has told me he doesn’t like being at home anymore. My heart breaks for him, and at the same time, it takes the wind right out of my sails….until this point, despite my efforts to initiate talks with him about his dad, he has seemed fine. I feel blindsided by this: it is taking all I can do to care for my husband. Now I have to pull resources out of somewhere in order to help my son work through his own issues. We both feel that if my husband can just get over the cough, we can deal with the low-sodium, low-fat, low-sugar bandwagon that we have all jumped on, as well as the confusion, frequent miscommunication, forgetfulness (well, let me think about the last three), medication management, appointments, tests, etc. The bootstraps that I am relying on to pull myself up are getting weaker by the minute.
Daily we are reminded that dad is sick…it is like a cloud that never goes away…no matter how hard the rain falls. Even in an average moment, I’ll look at his constantly swollen feet and am reminded that his precious heart, at 35% function, is working as hard as it can, and he is sick. I’ll explain to him for the third time, why we are doing this instead of that, and I am reminded that he is sick. When he is sitting on the couch with his head in his hands, I know that he is trying to suppress his cough, and he is sick. The medicine bottles that are spilling over the baskets on his dresser remind me that he is sick. The blood pressure cuff, the oxygen condenser…all remind me that the life we used to have has been replaced.
The silver lining: the revelation from my son gives me the notion that we can support each other. It certainly helps me to verbalize thoughts and feelings, so perhaps I can encourage this in him as well. And I am blessed that since he is nearly an adult, there is no need to sugar-coat my own thoughts and fears. I learned by default today that his thoughts and fears are exactly the same as mine. Tonight I will say a prayer that, by talking to each other, we can at least bandage the wounds, eventually bringing about healing. And we will spend a little time each day playing verbal tennis, no holds barred, so that we can sort out the anger from the sadness, and reveal the hope. Maybe then, we can take the focus away from the constant reminder that dad is sick, and remember the true blessing: he is still with us.